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ISIS Fires At Israel

June 14, 2015

“But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.”  (Deuteronomy 7:23)

Infighting in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and the radical Salafist group called Omar Brigades, which has allied itself to the Islamic State (ISIS), is apparently responsible for at least some of the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel over the last several weeks. (Times of Israel)

The Salafist branch of ISIS has now claimed responsibility for firing rockets from Gaza into Israel for the past few weeks.  The assault on Israel has apparently been an attempt to lure Israel into hurting Hamas, which has been cracking down on the ultra-extremist Jihadis.

hamas terrorists

Despite the unity government with the Palestinian Authority Fatah party, Hamas is still sovereign in Gaza.  Even after the new government was announced, it declared that it would continue its struggle against Israel and would not lay down its arms.

As per the usual, not all Gaza bombs are injuring only Israelis.  The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were unable to find Thursday night’s rocket impact site and suspects the rocket fell short into a highly populated area in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked the international community for their lack of response to the strikes that have sent the communities of Southern Israel to hide in bomb shelters—reminiscent of last summer’s 50-day war.

“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the U.N. did not say a word,” Netanyahu said.  “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”  (Ynet)

The Thursday, June 11, rocket followed another last Saturday night (June 6), which triggered siren alerts in Ashkelon, Israel.  Two rockets also flew from Gaza on June 3, setting off sirens in Ashkelon and Netivot, one day after a nationwide drill.  On May 26, another rocket was fired on Israel. 

Hamas strike on Ashkelon home in 2009

A 2009 Palestinian rocket damaged this home in Ashkelon.  The steady stream of rockets that hit Israel not only kill and injure people, they damage property and cause widespread psychological trauma, as well as disrupt daily life.

Hamas has been publicly blaming first the Salafists and then Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party for inciting the Salafists into firing the rockets.

Hamas’ accusations against both groups reveals its concern that Hamas’ rule in Gaza is under attack, despite the unity agreement reached with Fatah last year.  (Israel Hayom)

It is thought that the Salafist rocket fire is intended to lure Israel into weakening the infrastructure of Hamas, or perhaps to embarrass the rival terror group on the international scene.

Hamas accuses Palestinian Authority (PA) senior advisors to President Mahmoud Abbas for inciting the Salafi factions into firing the rockets and making it appear that Hamas is breaking the ceasefire agreement that has largely held since August 26 of last year.

concrete bus shelter in Sderot

In an attempt to increase the protection of Sderot residents, Israel has installed concrete bus shelters.  They do protect against flying debris, but cannot protect against a direct hit.  (Photo by Paul Simpson)

Hamas also suspects the Fatah-led PA of being responsible for a series of bombings throughout the Strip.

For instance, on Wednesday, a car bombing in Gaza City’s Shejaia neighborhood was foiled.  Naim Abu Ful, who was slated to carry out the bombing, revealed during interrogations that he had been instructed by Abbas advisor Mahmoud Habbash to set off the bomb.  The Hamas-led Interior Ministry responded with a statement warning against anarchy.  (JPost)

“We call on the prime minister [Rami Hamdallah] to declare a clear and honest position toward the sabotage actions in the Gaza Strip.  We are prepared to hand over to him the details of the investigations,” said Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Eyad al-Bazm.

Meanwhile, the Salafi Jihadis have already infiltrated the Sinai Peninsula and seek to make Sinai-Gaza one caliphate.

The Salafists (whose name means “predecessor” or “ancestor”) see themselves as representing true, literal Islamic teachings as followed by the earliest Muslims. They regard Hamas as too friendly with Israel and even “pro-America,” since they hold peace negotiations with the “infidels” and even have elections.

To try to squelch the internal threat to Hamas’ rule, Gaza has imprisoned several Salafi leaders.

In response, Salafists claimed responsibility in late May for planting a bomb on Hamas’ security headquarters in Gaza City, which damaged a wall.

“Hours earlier, Gazan Salafists posted an online message threatening to ‘act against chosen targets’ if Hamas did not release Islamist prisoners within 72 hours,” writes Aaron Klein at World Net Daily.

Iron Dome protects Israelis during Operation Protective Edge

The Iron Dome defense system takes out a Gaza rocket during Operation Protective Edge last summer.  Because of increased rocket fire on southern Israeli communities, Israel has decided to deploy four Iron Dome air defense system batteries in Ashdod, Netivot, Ashkelon, and Beersheba to protect Israel’s southern communities.

Regardless of which terror group is responsible for the rocket attacks into Israel, Gaza is under Hamas control and, therefore, Israel ultimately holds Hamas responsible for all militant activity in the strip.

The rockets shot toward Israel have led to an aerial response by  Israel Air Forces, which has targeted Hamas’s terror infrastructure.

Although Egypt has been destroying Hamas tunnels and building walls along its Gaza border, on Friday Egypt stepped up to broker reconciliation between the terror group and Fatah.

“As far as [Egypt is] concerned, Palestine is the main issue in the area, and we need to do everything to establish an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem,” said foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Attyon.

“We need to apply pressure and to have meetings so that the Palestinian front will be united and strong on the way to talks with the Israelis,” he added.  (Middle East Monitor)

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